| by Rick Pezzullo |
School budgets were approved by voters last month in the Tarrytown, Irvington and Pocantico Hills school districts.
In Tarrytown, the $72.57 million budget, which increases spending by $1.36 million from this year, passed 430 to 139.
The tax levy increase in the proposed budget for the 2015-16 school year falls well below the allowable state tax cap. The districtwide average tax hike is .88%. The state tax cap for the district is 6.55%.
Based on equalization rates for the towns of Greenburgh and Mount Pleasant, the estimated tax impacts for property owners in Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow vary significantly. In Sleepy Hollow, taxes are estimated to decrease by 2.2%. However, in Tarrytown, taxes are slated to increase by 3.7%. School officials cautioned the tax numbers are likely to change by August based on ongoing tax certiorari settlements on total property valuation in both villages.
Voters also approved a transportation proposition 433 to 114. In the uncontested Board of Education race, Mimi Godwin and B. Joseph Lillis were reelected and James Husselbee was elected to his first three-year term.
In neighboring Irvington, the $57.66 million budget was approved 835-373 and a capital reserve fund set up to finance reconstruction, renovations and equipment in the district schools and facilities, including the athletics fields and grounds, passed 625-313.
School taxes are slated to increase 3.5% in the budget. For the average homeowner in the district, the increase would translate to $585. School taxes make up about 60% of a property owner’s tax bill.
Spending in the budget is up $1.37 million (2.4%) from this year and falls $384,655 below the state mandated tax cap.
Meanwhile, in the Board of Education contest for two seats, newcomers Michael Hanna and Catherine Palmieri were elected with 816 and 809 votes respectively, besting Robyn Kerner, a former board president, who received 626 votes.
Palmieri congratulated Hanna and said Kerner ran a very tough race. “I think she pushed both Michael and me to work harder at the competition than we planned,” she noted.
“My first goal will be to work with the Board, Administration and Irvington parents to develop a three-year strategic plan that more closely aligns the allocation of our resources to become the district we want to be,” Palmieri said. “I have heard from many parents that this is something they would like to see, and it is also something (Superintendent of Schools) Kris Harrison has tried to pursue.”
In Pocantico Hills, the $30 million budget, which carries a tax increase of 6.6% in Greenburgh and .50% in Mt. Pleasant, passed 94 to 63. A school bus proposition also passed 101 to 56.
Charles Minton was elected to the Board of Education in an uncontested race.